Thanks to action by our state leaders, Osseo will be implementing all-day kindergarten in each of our 17 elementary schools starting next fall. There has been inequity in accessing all-day kindergarten programs because some of our schools had free all-day programs, some schools offered fee-based all-day programs, some schools offered a combination, and some school only had half-day programs. Starting next year, all schools will implement all-day kindergarten for all students.
This year at Rice Lake, we have implemented one fee-based all-day kindergarten classroom called Kindergarten Extra. The teacher in this classroom is Mrs. Thom. Mrs. Kuznia and Mrs. Juliot each teach two half-day classes and Mrs. Peterson teaches two half-day English Learner Kindergarten classes.
I meet each month with each grade level to discuss instructional practices, academic interventions, student achievement, and other topics. This past week when I met with the kindergarten team, the data they presented about their students excited me about having all-day kindergarten for all students next year.
Mrs. Thom shared the growth and achievement of her all-day students compared to that of the half-day students. The data shows that students in the all-day program are making great gains in letter-sound recognition and more of those students are reading. While we are also proud of the growth and gains of our half-day students, the progress our Kindergarten Extra students are making excites me to what we will be able to do for all kindergarten students starting next year. Early childhood, early learning, and all-day kindergarten programs are necessary and valuable for all students so they can achieve their dreams, contribute to community, and engage in a lifetime of learning.